April 14, 2020
A panel of experts shared advice and opinions about running background checks and hiring employees during the pandemic.
The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS) promotes a “high level of ethics and performance standards for the screening industry.” They establish best practices, create practical guidance materials and offer accreditation services for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs).
To help employers and CRAs update their hiring and screening processes during the pandemic, the PBSA assembled a group of experts to share advice in a 2-part webinar series. Here are some takeaways from the second webinar:
Courts, businesses and educational facilities throughout the country are closing temporarily to comply with social distancing regulations. We do not know how long these entities will be unavailable. If any components in a background check are likely to take several weeks or longer to complete, employers may opt to close their order and run a follow-up screening when possible.
In our blog entry about part 1 of the PBSA webinar, we noted that if a component cannot be closed due to the pandemic, we inform our clients so they may proceed accordingly. Some employers will make business decisions based on information that is currently available. Others might opt to make conditional offers contingent on the results of a follow-up screening.
Employers that conduct follow-up screenings should be fully transparent. This includes:
• Informing candidates that hiring or other business decisions are based on a partial background checks.
• Explaining that follow-up screenings will be required.
• Adding that final decisions will be based on forthcoming reports.
PBSA webinar presenters discussed the topic of consumer authorization for follow-up background checks. There is no precedent that specifies how employers should handle this scenario. Panelists suggested that best practice might be to provide each person who will be re-screened with new disclosure and authorization forms. This is the same process employers follow when running annual or ongoing background screenings for their employees.
Panelists also discussed the possibility of finding adverse information in follow-up background checks. If a criminal search could not be completed initially, then employers may learn a person they hired on a contingent basis has a conviction which might warrant dismissal. Before taking action, it is essential for employers to follow the federally mandated adverse action process. This gives each candidate an opportunity to review their report and file a dispute if they feel something is incorrect.
Backgrounds Online attends PBSA conferences, participates in best practices meetings and keeps up with educational materials such as the webinar about background screening during the pandemic. We’re proud to be involved with and accredited by the PBSA. We are here for you to provide unsurpassable service, education, product standards and business practices. To help employers during the pandemic we are:
• Maintaining a remote workforce to handle background check requests.
• Informing clients if a criminal search or other component cannot be completed right away due to a pandemic-related closure.
• Continuously monitoring laws and best practices for employment screening.
• Updating a blog entry with information about court closures and other topics that affect employers.
Many industries are hiring to meet consumer demands during the pandemic. Background screening remains a critical part of this process. If your organization is bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us.
Our experienced team can help you customize background check packages based on your specific needs, keep you aware of court and other closures and act as an extension of your business as you continue to operate during this difficult time. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm PT.